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Fin Whale

Fin Whale Facts

Size Up to 85.3 ft (26 m)
Speed Up to 25 mph (40 km/h)
Weight Up to 77 tons
Lifespan 50-60 years
Food Krill, little schooling fish, crustaceans
Predators Big sharks
Habitat All oceans of the world
Order Whales
Suborder Baleen whales
Family Rorqual
Scientific name Balaenoptera physalus
Characteristics Slim baleen whale

Main Characteristics

The Fin Whale Is the Second Largest Animal in the World

With its length of 109.9 feet (33.52 meters) and its weight of 190 tons, the blue whale is by far the largest animal on earth. The fin whale is closely related to the blue whale and almost as large. Its body has a length of up to 85.3 feet (26 meters) and a weight of up to 77 tons.

Fin Whale Photo: Juan Garcia/Shutterstock


What Do Fin Whales Eat?

Fin whales eat up to two tons of krill, little schooling fish and crustaceans per day. Like all baleen whales, the fin whale has longish plates made of keratin in its mouth to filter food from the ocean water. In order to catch the two tons of krill, it swims through the ocean with its mouth open and “swallows” between 60 and 80 tons of water (this roughly corresponds to its own body weight!)


How Deep Do Fin Whales Dive?

"20,000 Miles Under the Sea" like in Jules Verne’s fantasy novel? The fin whale would not appreciate it. It only dives about 656 feet (200 meters) deep to get its favorite food. It stays under water for up to 15 minutes.

Fin Whale Photo: Gonzalo Jara/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

How Do Fin Whales Look Like?

The irregular coloration of the fin whale is unique among whales: The lower lip, the oral cavity, and the baleens are white on the right side and grey on the left. Scientists suppose that this helps the whale to hunt schooling fish and crustaceans. The rest of the body is colored evenly from dark grey to brown-black, the sides, the bottom, and the fins are paler.

Fin Whale Photo: Petra Christen/Shutterstock


Fin Whale Produce Low-Frequency Sounds

The sounds of blue and fin whales are those with the lowest frequencies in the animal world. They range from 16 to 40 Hz (Hertz is the unit to measure frequencies). We can hear frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, so that we can just about perceive their sounds.


Anatomy and Appearance

Fin Whale Swim Very Fast

With its slim and torpedo-like body, the fin whale is moving through the water with speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h). This is why it is also called the “greyhound of the sea”.


The Oldest Fin Whale

In the Antarctic, a fin whale was discovered which must have been about 111 years old.

Fin Whale Photo: Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Are Fin Whales Endangered?

The organization “American Cetacean Society” is committed to the protection of whales and estimated the number of fin whales in 2003 to about 15,000 animals on the southern and 40,000 on the northern hemisphere. Before humans started to hunt animals there lived about 400,000 fin whales in the south and 70,000 in the north.

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